CCA Statement on WTO final ruling confirming U.S. COOL discriminates against live imports of Canadian cattle and hogs

Calgary, AB – In a historic and decisive victory for Canada’s cattle industry, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) today issued a final ruling confirming that U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) discriminates against live imports of Canadian cattle and hogs. The ruling, the fourth and final from the WTO on COOL, effectively ends the eight-year legal battle initiated by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) in 2007 challenging the U.S. labeling law for violating the U.S.’s international trade obligations.

“Today is an incredibly important and historic day for Canada’s cattle industry,” said CCA President Dave Solverson. “With a final ruling from the WTO affirming the Canadian beef industry’s right to fair market access firmly in hand, the CCA urges the U.S. Congress to finally repeal COOL on red meat,” he said.

The CCA applauds Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Gerry Ritz, International Trade Minister Ed Fast and the Government of Canada for their efforts on this file including a strong legal performance in Geneva, diplomatic representations in the U.S. and Mexico and an unwavering commitment to target U.S. exports for retaliatory tariffs should the U.S. fail to repeal COOL.

The CCA has spent $3.25 million fighting COOL since 2007 but Solverson said the cost to fight COOL is minor in comparison to the cost COOL has inflicted in the overall industry. “On behalf of the people who operate Canada’s 68,500 beef farms, I thank the Government of Canada for standing firm against the unfair discrimination of U.S. COOL and ensuring that the U.S. meets its international trade obligations,” he said.

Solverson thanked the WTO Appellate Body for delivering a clear and decisive final ruling that leaves no doubt as to the unfair discriminatory nature of COOL and in fact reinforces the international trade body’s three earlier rulings that mCOOL violates the U.S.’s international trade obligations. With today’s ruling, the U.S. has exhausted all of the appeal options available to it through the WTO, he added.

The CCA encourages the Government of Canada to move without delay to request WTO authorization to impose retaliatory tariffs on key U.S. exports. Once that authorization is received later this summer, Canada will be in a position to implement those tariffs.

In 2013 the Government of Canada announced a list of commodities being targeted for potential retaliation in the amount of $1.1 billion. That figure was based on the annual impairment suffered to that point under the 2009 final COOL rule. The amount has grown significantly following the May 23, 2013 COOL amendment – a path the U.S. chose to go down that actually increased the discrimination instead of genuinely fixing COOL. The amount of U.S. exports that Canada will be seeking WTO authorization to apply retaliatory tariffs upon will be made known shortly.

For further information, contact:
Gina Teel
Communications Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 306 | 403-875-3616